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Poor Will's Almanack: December 15 - 21, 2020

winter sky
Kirill Ignatyev
Flickr Creative Commons

I am up at seven sitting at the south window. The sky is half dawn, light and dark equal through the fast gray nimbostratus clouds and the storm.

The wind is hard from the southeast. The pattern of the gusts and rain creates an audible shape of its own, harsh like pebbles or hail, then soft, sweeping and blending, retreating.

After a few minutes, quiet. Then more squalls come pelting the house, surging at me passionately, the sound measuring the speed, the size and quantity of the force.

The most savage attacks shatter the raindrops against the window. My excitement increases with the intensity of the pounding that almost becomes too fervent.

Then the pressure suddenly eases, the cloudburst ends. I can see the tall birches swaying a block away, and instead of the wind, given voice and revealed by the rain, instead of its insistent drumming and clattering, I hear it rushing softly in the bare branches and singing in the crevices and corners of the building around me.

A few feet from where I sit, chickadees dive and hang at the feeders, glide with the rhythm of the air, at ease in the swells of the wind.

I leave the storm and come into my own warmth. I am here, surrounded by yellow pine and old brick, with a fire in the wood stove, collected and safe.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of Early Winter. In the meantime, get up early, wrap up in blanket and sit by the window quietly in the warmth .

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.